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Archive for the ‘Internet Marketing’ Category

October 29th, 2007

Google Adwords New Feature - Compare Performance

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Written by Dominic Lee

Topics: Google, Google Adwords, Internet Marketing, PPC

Google Adwords just came out with a cool neat new feature which allows you to compare performance across two date ranges and / or metrics on Account Snapshot

They recently updated the Account Snapshot page with new features that let you:

  • Select a specific date range or ranges for viewing ad performance by metric.
  • Compare metrics over two time periods.
  • View two different charts and stats that compare and contrast metrics and dates.
  • For instance, you can compare your Average CPC for the last 7 days of this month and your Average CPC for the last 7 days of March. Or you can compare your CTR for July 13–20 with your Conversion Rate for August 3–15.

    This will really help with monitoring and improving your Google Adwords marking. Don’t know how to do it? Get an adwords consultant like me!

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    October 28th, 2007

    Google Page Rank Updated

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    Written by Dominic Lee

    Topics: Ecommerce, Google, Internet Marketing, Search Engine Optimization

    Google just updated the page rank two days ago, so please check it out to see if you website are getting some Google love!

    Don’t know how to check Google Page Rank?

    Just download the google toolbar and you’ll see.

    Don’t know what page rank is? Um… sorry this blog is not for you.

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    October 23rd, 2007

    Why You Don’t Want To Be Market Pioneer In The Digital Age

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    Written by Dominic Lee

    Topics: Business Opportunities, China, Ecommerce, General Business, Internet Marketing, Retailing

    In my last post, I talked about how it is not the right time to get into ecommerce in China. And a lot of people asked me, “As an entrepreneur, aren’t you supposed to solve those problems?”

    Yes, entrepreneurs are supposed to solve problems. But not if the cost is too big.

    Here’s why you don’t want to be a market pioneer in the digital age:

    1. Exponentially higher development cost - in the industrial age, where productions rely on machineries and physical infracstructures, the development cost of market followers are not that much lower than the pioneer. The reason is developing and producing a machinery requires component and parts which cost money. For example, if it costs $10M to produce the first automatic cleaning machine, it will still cost $3-4M to reproduce it.

    However, in the digital age, when what businesses need are more information technology, online services, and software programs, there is an exponentially higher cost of development for the market pioneer. For example, while if it costs $10M to custom made a software, the cost to reproduct it? Almost zero.

    2. Less customer loyalty - in the digital age, when one store to another just barely a click away, it is becoming harder to build up customer loyalty. That means even if you company’s market share is 30% this year, it may very well be much less than that next year. Because of this lack of customer loyalty, the benefit of being the first one to enter a marketplace has significantly reduced.

    Combining higher initial risk and lower potential reward, I hope you see why you no longer want to be a market pioneer in the digital age.

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    October 20th, 2007

    China’s E-commerce Opportunities

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    Written by Dominic Lee

    Topics: Business Opportunities, China, Ecommerce, General Business, Internet Marketing, Retailing

    When I was in Hong Kong this summer, a lot of people asked me if I will try to setup some sort of presence in China for my ecommerce company. And I will always tell them no.

    Here’re the problems I see associated with doing ecommerce in China or Hong Kong at this moment (in order of importance):

    1. Lack of supporting industries - the supporting industries of ecommerce is pretty well developed in North America and in Europe. E-commerce’s supporting industries include shopping cart system, fulfillment centers, payment processors, inventory management, marketing venues… Without these supporting industries, enterprises have to build these infrastructures or programs from ground up, and it is very costly to do. I’ll elaborate more on this point later.

    2. Problem with financial infrastructure and logistics - do you know it is STILL a pain in the back to pay online using credit card or Paypal in China? It is even harder for them to take out money from Paypal, not to mention the exuberant fees. This alone can deter a lot of online shopping activites. Besides, the postal service and logistics are far behind in China than in North America. If you think USPS is bad? Think again. Some areas in China don’t even have roads or addresses.

    3. Can they afford spending that much yet? - While there’re more and more high income families and a surge in the no. of middle income households, the spending ability in China is still relatively low compared with Europe, N. America, Australia, Japan, and Korea. The avg. income are about USD$500/month. Without the kind of profit margin we achieve elsewhere, it is hard to justify going into China.

    4. New Rich Mentallity - Many people tries to bring up the point that, “But there’re more and more rich Chinese families”. That is true. But you have you understand that because they are new rich, they prefer going OUT to shop to show their wealth, NOT hiding at home and purchase things online.

    5. Denser Population - The population of China is concentrated in the coastal area, in particular the higher income group. With denser population and denser cities, offline shopping is often preferred with more convenience and wide enough selection of choices.

    6. Internet is about widening, not narrowing - another problem with setting up an ecommerce website in China is that you’re limiting yourself with Chinese reading population. When I setup a website in English, not only am I selling to all native English speakers but everyone else from other countries who are able to read English. O and the cost of setting up a web presence is the same everywhere.

    Now I’m not saying that ecommerce is not going to be a huge business opportunity in China sometime down the road, but at least not now, and not for the next 3-4 years to come.

    Another question I get a lot is - “So why can’t you be the first one to solve those problems? That’s what an entreprenuer does.” I’ll explain to you in my next post why I believe it is no longer beneficial to be the market pioneer in the digital age.

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    October 19th, 2007

    About Dominiche - Is Flipping Website a Good Business Model?

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    Written by Dominic Lee

    Topics: General Business, Internet Marketing

    There’s a recent launch (or re-launch) in the information marketing industry called the Dominiche. The guy behind it is Ed Dale, who’s a veteran information marketer, and one of the faculty member of Stompernet.

    What Dominiche teaches you is essentially how to profit from buying and selling websites (or building & selling, flipping…). Now before we get into what I think about Dominiche, let me talk about whether I think Website Equity is a good business model.

    In short, YES.

    Here’s why: How much would you have to pay for a investment real estate property in order for it to pay you $1000/month in rent? Its going to be about $100,000. How much do you have to pay to buy a website which pays you $1000/month in profit? Um.. about $15,000.

    So in terms of cashflow, this is GREAT.

    How about in terms of increase in property value?

    Well, let’s see, if you buy a house, no matter WHAT you do to it, renovating it, market it better… it will be almost impossible for you to flip it for more than 100% within 6 months. However, for websites, you can easily promote or monetize a site better and achieve a 100% increase in income - therefore increasing the website’s value by 100%.

    Why? Because as of this moment, the value of websites are almost only based on its income.

    There’s only one problem. With real estate, you can leverage. You can borrow money to purchase a property you can not otherwise afford, and thus you will gain much more in terms of increase in property value (that is if it increase).

    As of now, there aren’t very many mortgages available for buying websites.

    The potential I see here is not just with flipping websites itself, but the secondary industries that are going to be generated because of that. How if you become a mortgage company that specializes in provide mortgages for website acquisitions? How if you become a major broker in the area? How about an appraisal firm for website equity?

    Does that excite you?

    Now I’m not a member of Dominiche or Stompernet, and do not intend to join. But from what I’ve heard, those guys know what they’re doing. And for just $2000 something, its worth a shot at it and I look forward to hearing from your success.

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    October 2nd, 2007

    Yahoo Launched New Changes to Search & What It Means to Google

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    Written by Dominic Lee

    Topics: Google, Internet Marketing, PPC, Search Engine Optimization, Yahoo

    Yahoo Search Engine has just launched a series of new changes to its search function. The most notable change to it is the addition of Yahoo! Search Assist.

    Quoting from Yahoo:

    Most of you have already seen the real-time query suggestions we launched on Yahoo.com in July. Yahoo! Search Assist kicks it up a notch, bringing those suggestions to the search results page, along with related concepts that give users a point-and-click query refinement capability that enables them to explore a subject area they may be unfamiliar with.

    Search ‘united nations,’ for example, and the new Search Assist knows that the following concepts are related to your query: general assembly, 1945, league of nations, secretary general, etc. Want to refine your query to explore ‘united nations’ + ‘general assembly’? Just click on the ‘general assembly’ suggestion. You now get a new set of results and new concepts related to ‘united nations general assembly.’ Exploring further is now simply a matter of clicking on new concepts.

    One thing you’ll find when you use our new search experience is that Search Assist “automagically” drops down from the search box on the results page when it senses that you’re having difficulty formulating a query. But it only shows up when you need it or ask for it. It then offers real-time suggestions and concepts to explore, just like on Yahoo.com. We did this to avoid a common complaint about assistance technologies offered by other search engines — the “persistent assistance” that puts suggestions on the page regardless of whether a user wants or needs them.

    Yahoo have been testing Search Assist over the past few months and they have seen significant improvements in user satisfaction from those tests. One metric we found was a 61% increase in successful task completion when users had Search Assist as part of their search experience.

    I see these changes as positive for Yahoo and definitely closes the gap in terms of its usability with Google. It seems to me that Yahoo is taking a different route from Google by launching this search assist. What Google is trying to do is to understand searching behavior and come up with the suggestions themselves, where here Yahoo is trying to rely on the user to further refine the search results. This is certainly interesting to see how it pans out as to which model do searchers prefer and see if Google really has the ability to UNDERSTAND completely searching behavior and provide accurate suggestions.

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    September 29th, 2007

    How To Get Your Limited Paypal Account Restored

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    Written by Dominic Lee

    Topics: Ecommerce, Internet Marketing, Paypal, eBay

    Two of my Paypal accounts recently get limited due to some disputes on the charges. After trying to resolve the problems and restore the account status, I received an email from Paypal which says:

    Title: Limited Account Access Appeal Denied

    Dear XXX

    Every business must balance its exposure to risk with its business goals.
    At this time, we are not comfortable with the amount of risk your business
    exposes itself to.

    We would like to begin the process of ending our relationship in a manner
    that is least disruptive to your business.

    Please log in to your PayPal account and fill out the Limited Account
    Access form to let us know what to do with the funds remaining in your
    PayPal account.

    - Log in to your PayPal account
    - Click “Contact Us” and then “Contact PayPal Customer Service”
    - Choose the topic “Limited Account Access,” click “Continue,” and write
    your instructions in the message box.

    ———————————–
    Disbursement Options
    ———————————–

    1. Your remaining account balance can be used to provide refunds to your
    buyers (if applicable).

    If you choose to provide refunds to your buyers, please provide a list of
    transaction IDs for the buyers that you would like to refund.

    OR

    2. Your remaining funds will be held in your PayPal account for 180 days
    from the date your account was limited. After 180 days, you will be
    notified via email about how to receive your remaining funds.

    We thank you for your prompt attention to this matter and regret any
    inconvenience this may cause.

    Sincerely,
    PayPal Account Review Department

    Now mind you that I did have a substantial amount of money in the Paypal account, so I was worrying that it would take 180 days to get my money back. And also, some part of my business relies heavily on using Paypal to receive payments.

    Instead of panicking too much, I called Paypal and politely asked what the reason was (because it wasn’t said in the email), and they told me that it is because of some recent disputes and chargebacks. They then told me if I want to get my account restored, I should email appeal@paypal.com and resolution@paypal.com and tell them why I should have my account restored and how I would change to eliminate previous problems.

    I did exactly that and in about 1 week, I got another email saying that my Paypal account is restored.

    The moral of this story is, before you give up, try contact the people in charge, ask them what happened and try to resolve the problems. Hope this will help.

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    August 21st, 2007

    Adwords Consultant - yes or no?

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    Written by Dominic Lee

    Topics: Google, Google Adwords, Internet Marketing, Outsourcing, PPC, Search Engine Optimization

    Besides being an ecommerce entrepreneur, I sometimes provide consultation for business friends for their internet marketing like SEO and Google adwords management.

    One of the first questions I get the most is - do I need an Adwords consultant?

    The answer is yes.

    Many business owners with a new online presence thought Google adwords is simply straight forward bidding on some keywords, writting some ads, and put it on Google. This cannot be farther away from the truth.

    The truth is, a successful Google Adwords campaign require detail research of prospects’ search behavior, careful planning of adgroups, thorough copywriting of ads, choosing of landing page and conversion funnel, plus ongoing monitoring and split testing.

    I recommend that if you’re serious about expanding your online business or using internet marketing to grow your company - go get an Adwords Consultant and outsource your PPC!

    (Am I taking on new client? Not really at the moment, but you can email me to see when I’ll be available.)

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    August 10th, 2007

    Breaking! Google changes formula for top ad placement

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    Written by Dominic Lee

    Topics: Google, Google Adwords, Internet Marketing, PPC

    Ok here’s a breaking news, I just found out from my adwords account that Google is changing its formula for top a placement on adwords. Here’re the details from Google:

    In the coming weeks, we’re improving how high quality ads are selected for top positions above Google search results. This change is designed to improve the quality of our ad results, and to give you more control over achieving top ad placement.

    The core components of the top ad placement formula will remain price and quality. However, we are improving the way we factor price into the formula. We’re also adjusting the way your actual cost-per-click (CPC) is determined for ads in top spots. As always, only ads that meet our stringent quality requirements will be eligible to appear in top spots.

    What are the details?

    In the current top ad placement formula, we consider your Quality Score and your actual CPC, which is determined in part by the bids of advertisers below you. Even if you have a high quality ad, if advertisers below you are not bidding very much, your actual CPC may not be high enough to qualify your ad to appear in a top position.

    With this new formula, instead of considering your actual CPC, we’ll consider your maximum CPC bid, which you control. This means that your ad’s eligibility to be promoted is no longer dependent on the bids of advertisers below you. Therefore, if you have a high quality ad, you now have more control to achieve a top position by increasing your maximum CPC.

    Your actual CPC will continue to be determined by the auction, but subject to a minimum price for top spots. The minimum price is based on the quality of your ad and is the minimum amount required for your ad to achieve top placement above Google search results. As always, the higher your ad’s quality, the less you will pay. And you will never be charged more than your maximum CPC bid.

    How might this affect me?

    We anticipate that most of your ads will continue to perform as they have in the past. In some cases, you may see that ads previously shown alongside search results are now shown in top spots, and vice versa. As a result, you may see a change in the average number of clicks and average CPCs for impacted ads.

    I think this is a great move by Google and will further ensure higher quality ads to achieve the top placement. The problem, however is, do you REALLY want top placement - which typically attracts tons of low quality click?

    Let me know what you think about this new change in the comment section!

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    July 24th, 2007

    Google’s Pay-Per-Action Beta Expanding Globally

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    Written by Dominic Lee

    Topics: Affiliate Marketing, Google, Google Adwords, Internet Marketing, PPC

    Here’s the latest blog post on the Google Adwords Blog, announcing the global expanstion of PPA Beta.

    In March, we launched the pay-per-action (PPA) beta in the United States. Today, we’re pleased to announce the worldwide expansion of the PPA beta. Here’s a note from Rob Kniaz, the product manager for PPA:

    Starting today, advertisers who use AdWords conversion tracking and receive more than 500 conversions from their cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) campaigns in the most recent 30-day period will be invited to join this beta test, on a rolling basis. Eligible advertisers will see an alert in their AdWords account informing them that they can now try the PPA beta.

    As a refresher, pay-per-action advertising is a new pricing model that allows you to pay only for completed actions that you define (such as a lead, a sale, or a page view), after a visitor has clicked on your ad on a publisher’s site. With CPC and CPM campaigns, advertisers need to continuously monitor and tune their campaigns to meet their target CPA (cost-per-action). With pay-per-action campaigns, advertisers only need to set their desired cost-per-action and pay for completed actions to hit their CPA targets.

    PPA ads will appear on publisher sites in the Google content network. Publishers are free to choose the PPA ads most relevant to their site and run them in new ad units.

    I have been using PPA since it launched for one of my lead generation site and has generated pretty good results, how would it expanstion affect YOUR business. Leave us a comment and let us know!

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